Anshel Pfeffer

Israel rebooted: Bibi's coalition deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 10, 2012

The political earthquake that shook Israel in the middle of the night this week has sent shockwaves well beyond the confines of the Knesset.

Benjamin Netanyahu is now one of the most powerful prime ministers ever to lead Israel, and many commentators are wondering if he is now sufficiently empowered to alter the course of Middle East history.

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Haggling, back channels and a midnight deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 10, 2012

Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz's closest political advisers spent last weekend putting together teams to fight an election campaign over the coming summer - at the same time as they were fleshing out a deal to form a national-unity coalition.

While the two leaders were receiving updates on the talks - which included an agreement to postpone elections by over a year - they continued to behav

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Uproar over Crif 'support' for Sarkozy

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 3, 2012

A column last week in an Israeli newspaper by a French Jewish leader has caused a furore in Paris over what is being seen as a tacit Jewish endorsement of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Richard Prasquier, head of Crif, French Jewry's umbrella body, wrote in Ha'aretz about the challenges facing the Jews of France under a new president.

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Bibi loses his ideological rock - his father

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 3, 2012

Benzion Netanyahu, the pre-eminent historian of Jewish medieval Spain, who died on Monday at his home in Jerusalem, aged 102, was the man who most influenced the political outlook and ideology of his son, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Born in Warsaw in 1910, Benzion Mileikowski was the son of a Zionist rabbi and writer who moved his family in 1920 to Jerusalem, where Benzion went on to stu

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Kadima's Tzipi Livni says goodbye

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 3, 2012

A meteoric, 13-year parliamentary career which twice brought Tzipi Livni to the brink of Israel's premiership, came to an end on Tuesday, when the former leader of Kadima announced she was resigning from the Knesset "but not leaving public life".

In a press conference at the Knesset, she said: "I respect the decision of the Kadima voters and I wish Shaul [Mofaz] good luck.

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Israeli expert barred from NHS-sponsored event after UNISON pressure

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 30, 2012

The participation of an Israeli expert on conflict resolution at an NHS-sponsored event next week in Manchester was cancelled following pressure from local representatives of the UNISON trade union whose members were supposed to participate in the workshop.

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After Stuxnet virus, Iran has been in the grip of network-paranoia

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 26, 2012

Iran's leadership has repeatedly said over the past couple of years that the destructive Stuxnet computer worm was easily vanquished and caused little damage to the centrifuges carrying out uranium enrichment.

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Will Israel-Egypt relations collapse with gas deal?

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 26, 2012

On announcing that it was terminating its contract to supply gas to Israel on Sunday, Egypt's Natural Gas holding company immediately claimed that the decision had been made on a purely commercial basis.

However, the move was pounced upon by the country's presidential candidates as yet another opportunity to burnish their national and anti-Israel credentials.

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Inside Sinai, where al-Qaeda roam free

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 19, 2012

For over a hundred miles between the heavily guarded Suez Canal Bridge and the main town in northern Sinai, El Arish, the road is deserted at night. No-one is stopping cars or checking documents at the roadblocks and the guard posts are empty.

Only on the final approach to El Arish can the first signs of a military build-up be seen.

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Carry on enriching: the Iran talks farce

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 19, 2012

The different views of the outcome of last weekend's talks between the international powers and Iran have already caused a public spat between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama.

Iran's delegation to last Saturday's talks in Istanbul with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5+1) refused to discuss the specifics of the demand that they curtail their uranium enric

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Fact and fiction in Israel's fight behind enemy lines

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 11, 2012

When trying to make sense of some of the recent reports to come out on secret Israeli missions and plans for attacks on Iran, it is useful to simply open an atlas.

Take, for instance, the "news" on Israeli operations from the Kurd regions in northern Iraq, which appeared in the Sunday Times last month. This is the same report that has been recycled for the past nine years - but how true is it?

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Healing hands: how Israeli town riven by religious war is forging peace

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 11, 2012

Last year, Beit Shemesh was ground zero for the latest round of religious conflict in Israel, with regular reports emerging from the town of violent scuffles and the harassment of schoolgirls.

In recent months, however, the town may have turned into a symbol of communal engagement.

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Toulouse terror reshaping the French election

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 4, 2012

Last month's attacks in which a jihadist shot four people at a Jewish school in Toulouse have changed the focus and, quite possibly, the outcome of the French presidential election.

Mohamed Merah, who also shot three soldiers in a separate attack and was killed following a 32-hour siege, had only one alleged collaborator - his brother.

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It's clear: Hamas has left Iran's axis of madness

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 15, 2012

The latest round of violence around the Gaza Strip has brought out into the open one of the major results of the last year's strategic shift throughout the region.

While Israel officially continues to hold Hamas responsible for every attack emanating from Gaza, it has been clear over the past week that every strike and counter-strike was centred on the two smaller organisations in the Strip, Is

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Chasidic dynasties make peace

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 8, 2012

Two of the largest Chasidic dynasties have buried the hatchet after an estrangement lasting 32 years.

The two leaders of the Belz and Satmar courts finally met three weeks ago at the home of the Belzer Rov Yissachar Ber Rokeach near Jerusalem, during the Satmar Rebbe Aaron Teitelbaum's visit to Israel.

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Lieberman offers aid to victims of Syria horror

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 8, 2012

Although Israel has remained resolutely on the sidelines over Syria throughout the past year, last Friday Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would send humanitarian aid to President Bashar Assad's victims if asked.

A rare contact occurred last week online when a Syrian citizen, Abd el-Hadr, wrote on the Facebook wall of IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai: "We want t

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Watertight pledges - but oceans apart

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 8, 2012

While both President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made major efforts to emphasise the cordiality of their three-hour meeting in the White House on Monday, the differences between the two administrations over Iran were evident this week.

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Obama has not changed his position on Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 8, 2012

The moment that, in his Aipac speech on Sunday, President Obama began reeling off all the instances over the past three years when his administration had stood firmly by Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's advisers went into crisis mode.

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Deep in Bibi's inner circle, fear and mistrust rule

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 1, 2012

Benjamin Netanyahu's administration will not be three years old until the end of this month, but he is already onto his fifth press secretary.

That's less than nine months' service for each of them - hardly job security. The last press secretary, Dr Yoaz Hendel, lasted only six months before being forced out in less than auspicious circumstances, replaced by his deputy, Liran Dan.

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Baku-Jerusalem in £1bn deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 1, 2012

Azerbaijan has signed an agreement to purchase weapons systems worth £1 billion from Israel.

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